Saving Lucas Biggs Book Poster Image

Saving Lucas Biggs

(i)

 

Girl time-travels to save dad in thought-provoking story.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers will learn about a wide range of topics, including fracking, Quaker history, and what it means to be a whistle-blower. They also will be left to think about their own definitions of brave, including whether pacifists would be included in the description and whether they agree with Margaret that "good + good + good + good > BAD."  

Positive messages

Margaret, Charlie, and their families, who continue to stand by those they love, bravely combat evil with love and goodness. Margaret also learns that it's better to focus on the present than try to fix the past. 

Positive role models

There are a lot of loyal characters in this book: Margaret, who fights for her dad's release; Charlie, who stands by Margaret no matter what and even committing some crimes for her; and Josh, who remains Luke's friend even after the man has turned hateful. Margaret's idea that "good + good + good + good > BAD" is particularly inspiring considering what she's going through. 

Violence

Margaret's father is sentenced to death after being wrongly accused of setting a fire that killed a man. Workers are injured in a mine accident. A security force opens fire on a striking worker camp, injuring and killing many people, including children. A man is murdered and another has his head bashed in. A man is hanged, though it's made to look like a suicide. Explosions are used for diversions.

Sex

A woman falls in love with a man from another time. Margaret and Charlie hold hands. 

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A woman makes moonshine alcohol, which some adult characters drink. A mention of smoking cigars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Saving Lucas Biggs is a story that involves time travel, moral and legal issues, and a scientist who speaks up about the dangers of fracking to save his community. There's some violence: Margaret's father is sentenced to death after being wrongly accused of setting a fire that killed a man; workers are injured in a mine accident; a security force uses a tank to open fire on a striking worker camp, injuring and killing many people, including children; a man is murdered, and another has his head bashed in; and later, the injured man is hanged, though it's made to look like a suicide. Tween and teen readers ready for this intense material will learn about a wide range of topics, including fracking, Quaker history, and what it means to be a whistle blower. They'll also think about being brave and may develop a wider definition of the word. Margaret's idea that “good + good + good + good > BAD" is particularly inspiring considering what she's going through.  

Parents say

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What's the story?

Margaret's dad -- a whistle-blowing geologist who let the community know fracking was hurting the town's water supply -- is framed for murder by greedy fossil fuel executives and sentenced to death by the judge they keep in their pocket. To save her dad's life, Margaret uses a genetic "quirk" to travel back in time to the late 1930s, trying to stop a similar wrong that happened to the judge's family when he was still a boy -- and that turned his heart to stone. She returns to the modern world to continue her fight, with her best friend Charlie and his grandfather faithfully by her side, and learns important lessons about the power of focusing on the good in the world versus the evil, about all the different ways people around her have been truly brave, and why it's ultimately better to focus on the present, which is "here and here and here...and all of it yours."

Is it any good?

QUALITY

SAVING LUCAS BIGGS is an ambitious book that will teach readers about a wide range of topics, including fracking, Quaker history, and what it means to be a whistle-blower. As readers travel through the late 1930s and the modern day with brave Margaret, they'll also be left to think about their own definitions of brave, including whether pacifists would be included in the description and whether they believe small acts of goodness can trump true evil. Time travel is an essential element of the plot, but this book is better off for tweens interested in social justice than science fiction.

Some may think that the conclusion comes off as overly convenient, and it does read a bit like a simplistic Hollywood ending. But the book's more complicated ideas about collective good and bravery -- and the sweet characters such as Margaret, Charlie, and their families, who continue to stand by those they love -- will keep readers engaged to the end.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about time travel. If you had Margaret's "quirk," how would you use it? Why do you think time travel is such a popular theme in fiction?

  • What do you think of the idea that "good + good + good + good > BAD." Do you agree with Margaret's math?

  • Do you agree with Margaret's ultimate conclusion about what it means to be brave? Can pacifism ever be a brave choice?

Book details

Authors:Marisa de los Santos, David Teague
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Friendship, Great girl role models, History
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:April 29, 2014
Number of pages:288
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Kid, 10 years old January 24, 2016

Saving Lucas Biggs Review (spoiler alert)

Saving Lucas Biggs is about a girl named Margaret whose father is arrested for committing a crime he never did. Margaret uses a family “quirk” to travel back in time to save Judge Lucas Biggs. In her travels she meets her best friend's grandfather. I think that this is a great book. It has great role models. For example when Josh had to decide to save Luke's dad (who refused to go earlier) and Margaret he makes a very hard decision between saving his friend or saving Luke’s dad. Even though this is a great book there are some violent deaths. For example people are killed, including kids) at a camp that they set up, there is a fight with one man killed and another bashed on the head, and a man is hung but it is made to look like suicide. Because of the violence, I would recommend this book to people who would be okay with the mild violence. I hope if you chose to read this that you will enjoy it!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models